Re-engaging students in training and work

The Regional VET Pathways (RVP) Program on the North Coast had a stellar 2020, helping dozens of young people re-engage with education and find work.

The RVP provides support to young people (aged 15 to 19) who have been referred from the pilot schools. Targeted at students that have become disengaged with education, the pilot is run by Connect Northern Rivers Inc, and offers a range of support, from mentoring and career guidance to practical assistance with continuing education or training.

“Many of the young people we work with face some pretty tough barriers to completing their education and finding work, but we find that with one-on-one targeted assistance many jump at the chance to re-engage.” says Margaret Hughes, Programs Manager at Connect Northern Rivers Inc.

Some of those students have to contend with serious difficulties at home, while others face lengthy commutes to their places of work or training. Whatever the case, Margaret and her team are there to help and judging by their 2020 outcomes, whatever they’re doing is working.

Since the RVP pilot got up and running in July 2020, 50 North Coast students have re-engaged with school or training or secured a job.

One student completed a two-day trial with a cabinetmaking business and was promptly offered an apprenticeship. The student started his apprenticeship in October and is looking forward to a successful year or training and work.

Two students gained employment at the Northern Cooperative Meat Company in Casino, one as a trainee. Connect Northern Rivers provided travel assistance to both students in the form of petrol vouchers and is supporting them to find accommodation closer to their place of employment.

In terms of training outcomes, the RVP has helped dozens of students take advantage of some of the great vocational training opportunities on offer through the Educational Pathways Pilot Program (EPPP.) For example, a number of students completed YES+ courses, with two students gaining admission to TAFE courses for 2021.

RVP is a client-centred program designed to help young people overcome the barriers that are standing between them and success. More often than not, the solution involves engaging clients in education, training or work, but not always. Margaret shared the story of one student who could not be re-engaged in school owing to severe anxiety. In this case, Connect worked with the student’s family to apply for National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) support and commenced weekly mentoring sessions with a view to engaging the student in activities outside the home.

Overall, 2020 was a highly successful year for the RVP. Looking ahead, Margaret and her team are looking to keep their current students engaged in some great training and employment opportunities. We wish them well.

  • Teaching and learning
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